“Riders on the storm, riders on the storm
Into this house we're born, into this world we're thrown
Like a dog without a bone…”

Partial lyrics from “Riders on the Storm” by The Doors


For the past several years, an annual Halloween costume party was held at The Palace, usually restricted to adults over 21, as liqueur would be present throughout the night. For Odessa and friends, they usually held a movie fright night at someone’s house. This year was Derek’s turn to host and after their chemistry test was over, he checked with Kiko, Odessa, and The Boy to confirm if they were still coming over to his place. It was convenient this year as family cousin, Keesha, was in town that weekend, and both his parents were going to take her to the party with them, leaving the entire house to himself. Alec, Skyler, Randy, Nicole, Jacob and a girl Derek was talking to named Desiree over, all had already confirmed their invites. Kiko declined, however, stating that she had “some things to take care of” that night. She wasn’t specific by what she’d meant, but Odessa noted a subtle hint of mischief in her tone.

Later that afternoon there was a soft knock on Odessa’s bedroom door. She was lying on her bed, putting together her last university application she’d just completed and ready to have posted. “Come in,” she said, sealing up the large envelopes.

“Hey, honey, how are you? I wanted to check-in and see how your chemistry test went today,” asked her mother, sitting down next to her on the bed.

“Oh, I think it went pretty well, 'knock on wood…' The last-minute study group we had yesterday was definitely helpful, especially since I think balancing equations can be tricky. Thankfully, Tim showed me a way that makes them a bit easier to handle. I swear that boy practically has the entire periodic chart memorised. It’s just not normal!”

Evangeline could see the twinkle in her daughter’s eyes when gushing about The Boy. “Well, I’m glad he was of help to you, and that you believe things went well.” Odessa was lost in thought, causing Evangeline to give her a daughter a teasing grin. “I remember what it was like to be young and in a new relationship.” She stroked Odessa’s hair. “You really like him, don’t you?”

“Oh Mom, he’s the best! I mean I’ve never met anyone like him before,” Odessa gushed. “There are so many things about him: he’s so independent, mature, artistic, deep… Plus he’s a complete hottie without even trying! He is sooo completely different from the guys at school, and I was lucky enough to snag him!”

Evangeline beamed. “Well, I think you mean he was lucky to snag you, but I’m glad this young man is making my baby feel happy, and I’m looking forward to meeting him this weekend. I know your father is still trying to get used to the idea of you having a boyfriend, especially during your last year in school, but I’ll be sure to warn him not to be too threatening.”

“Thanks, Mom, I could use all the help I can get!”

“But baby, I’m still not sure about the fact that he lives by himself, and you yourself haven’t bothered asking him how he can afford to do that. You’re father is even more uncomfortable with it than I am. I know you’ve mentioned that he’s had a rough life…” Her mother stopped and started stroking her daughter’s hair, making Odessa a worried. Evangeline started again, “Remember the talk we had last year about a certain kind of ‘relations’?”

Odessa moaned. “Oh, Mom, not another sex talk! Yes, I remember.”

“Don’t worry ‘Dessi, I won’t give you a full-on lecture again. But baby, you are growing up into a beautiful and intelligent young woman, with so much to offer and discover in life. Pretty soon you’ll be facing a slew of more complicated situations, and decisions you’ll have to make. In this case, with you being in a new relationship with someone you obviously really like, I just want you to remember that you do not have to rush into anything you’re not ready for.”

“I know Mom, and I know you said that if someone is ready to have sex for the first time, he or she will know when the moment is right… and I agree with you on that.”

“I’m glad you do baby, but that is beside the point. There’s bound to be a natural state of curiosity and temptation when it comes to having sex for the first time… I’m not necessarily being an advocate for teenagers having sex, in fact I would rather you wait until your much older… but all I’m saying is just always try and remember to use your best judgment, and be cautious of your choices. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Mom, I do… In fact, I know that I plan on saving myself for someone that I know I really love.”

“That’s good to hear… Knowing your father, he’d rather you’d wait until you’re married, or until he becomes a geriatric,” Evangeline chuckled.

“Will he be able to make it to the party tonight?”

“I’m not sure, honey. He’ll at least try, but if he does attend I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up coming home early. But I really want to see him in the pharoah costume rental I got him… That reminds me, I need to go out and find some last minute accessories for my Cleopatra costume.” Evangeline got up from Odessa’s bed. “Have fun tonight at Derek’s and tell him I said ‘hello’… And Odessa, please stay safe tonight, okay?”

Odessa rose from her bed, as well. “Don’t worry Mom, I will… I love you.” She gave her mother a big hug.

“I love you, too, baby. And if there’s anything you ever need to talk about, you know I’m always here for you…” She kissed her daughter on her head left the room.

The gang was over at Derek’s house where they’d rented three horror flicks. Skyler, who’s never liked scary movies, had been squeamish the whole time, leaving the room on a few occasions. She would become irritated with Alec, who’d been making fun of her screaming. “It’s not funny, Alec!!” she would yell. Eventually he’d wind up having to go and comfort her, but at one point they snuck out the room for a little make-out session.

Odessa, herself, wasn’t a big fan of horror films either, and during the first movie she’d jumped at several scary scenes, causing The Boy to chuckle softly, put his arm around her, rubbing it to calm her down; she quite enjoyed the comforting moments. But halfway through the second movie Odessa was becoming restless. “You okay?” he whispered in her ear.

“I don’t suppose you mind us getting out of here?”

“Where do you wanna go?”

AAAAAAUUGGHHH!” screamed one of the characters in the movie.

Odessa jumped. “I don’t know, anywhere but here right now. I can’t take this gory stuff, anymore…”

“Alright, that’s fine. Let’s go.”

“Are you sure you don’t mind?”

“Nope, you know I don’t mind spending some alone time with you anyway,” The Boy assured.

Everyone else, seem to be engrossed with the movie, with the exception of Skyler, who caught the attention of Odessa. Odessa motioned that she and The Boy were leaving, and Skyler took in the mental message of informing the others, should they ask of their whereabouts. The two had come separately, but she left her car at Derek’s and went with him on his sportsbike, with Odessa, again wearing his helmet. The night was a bit chilly, so The Boy wore a black toboggan along with his black shades. She’d teased him earlier about looking like a thug, but thought it was cute, nonetheless. Since Odessa didn’t specify about where she wanted to escape to The Boy improvised by riding near the memorial grounds. “Let’s go for a stroll for added Halloween effect,” he’d suggested. Needless to say, Odessa was spooked by the idea and after some heavy resistance on her part, The Boy managed to convince her into the idea of sitting on one of the benches in the garden area located between the entrance gates and the large plot of land where the actual gravesites were.

“Talk about disturbing the peace,” Odesaa dryly commented as they sat on a bench.

“Don’t worry, I don’t think a lot of people would come here tonight, anyway.”


“Relax Odessa, live a little…”

Odessa had to snicker at his quip. “Oh man! Don’t be surprised if you get several visits from offended ghosts tonight.” She got closer to him for cuddling, and shortly after they were sharing kisses.

“Your lips are so dangerous,” The Boy moaned. They stopped eventually and they returned to cuddling again.

“I wonder what Kiko was doing tonight. I know she’s up to something stupid,” Odessa asked after a few minutes.

“Do you want to give her a ring and find out where she is?”

“No, I won’t bother her. I tried calling her at Derek’s and left her a message to phone me when she didn’t answer.” She looked up at him and was startled. She couldn’t believe how apparent his shocking green eyes were, even in the dark. Suddenly, she had a vision of the two of them, alone, and he was staring at her in a disturbing manner. What she didn’t realise was that the vision was from the dreams she had had of him, but she couldn’t remember that fact. Feeling strange, Odessa shivered, and The Boy took notice.

“You want to get out of here?” he asked.

“Hell yes! This place is giving me the creeps now!” she replied and he laughed. At that moment Odessa realised that although she’d met him in the reception area of the Angel Square Hotel a couple of times, she’d never actually seen his room yet. She expressed her notice to him, and he consented in taking her to his place. Before going there he stopped at a petrol station to fuel up his bike. When she went with him inside the station where he had to pay first, and she immediately went to the slushy machine to get a large grape flavoured one. Tim had already gone out to the pump he parked at, and when Odessa went to go pay for her slushy the cashier told her it had already been paid for “by the young man” she came in with. Smiling, Odessa thanked the cashier and as she was walking out, she bumped into Matthew Buchanan, Llanview’s Assistant District Attorney, who was dressed up as Austin Powers.

Odessa couldn’t help but laugh. “Oh my goodness, I love your costume, Mr. Buchanan! How are you tonight?”

Doing an impression of the silly character, Matthew replied, “Cheers, luv, but actually, my name is Austin ‘Danger’ Powers, and I’m absolutely smashing tonight, baby, YEAH!” Odessa laughed again, and he returned to his normal voice. “Christina helped me pick it out at the last minute,” he said referring to his girlfriend and Odessa’s chemistry teacher. “She’s dressed as Vanessa Kensington. It was pretty funny though, because Jack was ‘Dr. Evil’ and Jamie was ‘Foxxy Cleopatra.’ As one may expect, things to say things a got a little bit… uncomfortable between Evil and me…”

“Hehe, I’ll bet! I’m guessing you’re coming from The Palace then. Is the party over early tonight, or something?”

“No, it’s still going on. But Chris and I hadn’t planned on staying the whole night, and we’ve just decided to split. But we left just after the strangest but funniest moment happened. Someone dressed as a nun and wearing sunglasses, accidentally knocked one of the servers carrying a tray of glasses with red wine. The poor guy then fell onto Hugh Hughes, who came as Julius Caesar. As you can guess, his white toga rental was ruined. Then the so-called nun apologises in the worst southern accent I’ve ever heard and then bumps into another server carrying hor’dourves. This time the food goes flying right onto Hughes again. The nun then scrams out of the place in a jiffy, Hughes gets all angry and Kelly Buchanan, who was his date, tries to clean him up with some napkins. Meanwhile, Kevin, who’s standing with me immediately starts laughing and Hughes accuses him of setting up the scene. Of course, Kevin is defending himself, and things were about to get heated until I held Kevin back, while Justice Ward held Hughes. Hughes left the party soon after, and told Kelly she should stay and enjoy the rest of night. And that was that.”

Odessa immediately burst into a fit of laughter. She knew exactly who the "fleeing nun" was. Kiko, you cow! You are sooo in for it now! “I always miss the good stuff,” she quipped. “Well, I’d better take off… my boyfriend is outside waiting for me.”

Matthew noticed the helmet in her hands. “Hmm, the kid with the bike outside... and your parents are okay with that?”

“Not exactly, they don’t know about it yet.” she replied. Matthew gave her a disapproving look. “Please don’t say anything to them Mr. Buchanan! I’m going to tell them soon! Pleeeeeeaaaaaassssee!” she begged.

“Odessa, you know I respect your parents a lot, and I don’t want to see or hear about you getting hurt. It is your responsibility to inform them, but I won’t say anything to them about it, yet… but promise me you’ll stay safe, okay? I don’t want to hear about a certain ‘fembot’ being admitted to the hospital because of an accident. ”

Odessa nodded. “I promise!” After saying their goodbyes she ran out over to The Boy, who was chatting with Christina. Odessa greeted her teacher, while offering The Boy some of her slushy. Evidently, Christina told him the same story Matthew told Odessa.

“Sounds like pure comedy,” The Boy smiled. “Wow, this slushy is pretty good…”

They rode over to the Hotel, and luckily, Roxy was at The Palace party, as one of her assistants was at the reception desk. When they went up to his room, Odessa discovered that he was living in a studio flat. The flat was equipped with a small bathroom with shower, a portable two-grill stove, Frigidaire, and closet space. His furniture consisted of a moderately-sized dresser, a desk, a small radiator by it, and a full bed, with a nightstand next to it. There was an alarm on top and beside the stand stood an unplugged phone. For entertainment, he had a stereo and a small-screened T.V. On his reddish-brown walls he had posters of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zepplin, a poster of a Harley-Davidson bike, and one of a white-tailed eagle on his closet door. By his room entrance/exit rested his laundry basket. The Boy’s flat was for the most part tidy, save for a textbook and notebooks on his desk, a couple of sketchbooks and charcoal pencils on his bed, and some scattered charcoal drawings on the floor. “Not exactly The Ritz, is it? Sorry about the mess, by the way,” he bashfully said, as he began to clear the items off his bed.

“Hey, you get no complaints from me. I still think it’s wicked that you’ve got your own place,” she said when he proceeded to gather the loose-leaf sketches on the floor and place them on his desk.

“Thanks… Go ahead and make yourself as comfortable as you can. I’ll be right back,” and he went into the bathroom.

Odessa went over to his stereo on his dresser and switched it on. As she was playing around with the radio tuner, she noticed a few sketches next to the stereo and her curiosity immediately kicked in. As she was sifting through them she saw one of an older man but seemingly attractive with dangerous eyes, standing outside of a building. A couple of motorcycles were in the background and the building read “J. Morgan’s Chopper Shop.” The next picture looked at was of a woman with light hair but no eyes, the same woman she’d seen The Boy’s sketchbook some time ago. However, she was in a different pose and with an actual background of what looked like a garden in this picture. Odessa was curious before, but now she was intrigued. The last one she looked at was another lovely depiction of her sitting on a bench near the Angel Square statue. It had a date on it marked in towards the end of July, well before she first saw The Boy. Odessa was flattered. He really had seen me around town…

“Stunning isn’t she?” The Boy said in a low voice from behind, making Odessa jump. His black hair had been slicked back and he was now wearing and a light grey undershirt, the lightest shade she’d seen him wear.

“Oh! I, uh… was just playing around with the radio, and I saw these sketches lying here. These are incredible! I wish you’d stop being so shady with your art, so I could see some more.”

The Boy grew a slight smirk, went over to his bed and sat down, carefully watching her. “But you already have…” he coolly said. Odessa was frozen and said nothing. “I know you saw my artwork, Bella… The sketchbook wasn’t in the same position I kept it in on that particular afternoon you came by the garage… and apart from you and me, no one else had been out the back all day, either.”

Odessa had been caught and she wasn’t about to deny it. “So you knew this whole time?” The Boy slowly nodded his head his expression unchanged. Feeling panicky Odessa began pacing around. “Tim, I know your drawings are private to you, but I just had to see... And this may sound a bit bad, but I even though I know I was being nosy, I’m really glad I got to see your work…”

“Forget it--”

“--Tim, you are an amazing artist! Your pictures seem so real, like there’s a story behind each one…”


”--I just can’t believe you don’t let anyone see them.”

“Hey, will you be quiet for a second?!” The Boy lightly grabbed Odessa, pulling her down to sit next to him on the bed. He smiled. “Look, I’m glad you like my drawings and I appreciate your compliments, but I honestly don’t mind if you, alone, see my sketches. Anyway, it’s just something that’s a little hobby of mine… kind of like your photography I guess, except I’m not really as passionate about it.

Odessa was relieved. “Wow, that’s crazy! You are so good. But, I’m glad you’re not mad at me about the snooping. My dad use to say that my nosiness was going to get me in trouble one day,” she chuckled.

“Oh yeah? Well, it’s gonna take an awful lot to get mad at you, Babes… You’re really close with your father aren’t you?”

“Definitely, I don’t know what I’d do without him, both of my parents actually--” she stopped when she noticed The Boy had a flicker of sadness in his eyes. “Tim, I know it’s none of my business, but you never talk much about the man who raised you… why?” The Boy sat motionless to Odessa’s enquiry, until he ruffled his hair with his fingers, evidently struggling with his thoughts. “If it’s too hard to talk about, then don’t worry about it.”

The Boy, still silent, then lay back on the bed with his hands behind his head. He stared up at the ceiling for the longest time before answering. “I used to call him ‘Uncle Carlo,’ and he would call me ‘Junior,' short for 'Junior Hesser'.” The Boy started and then sighed deeply. “As the story I was told goes, I was a baby born out of wedlock, supposedly the product of an alleged affair, and my so-called father wasn’t going to have anything to do with my mother or me, even before I was even born,” a trace of bitterness was evident in The Boy’s voice. “So he was able to track down Carlo in Switzerland, asking him for the biggest favour of his life; the favour being to take my mother and me in.”

“Oh, you’re originally from Switzerland then?” Odessa asked.

“No, I was born in the States. But my father was a prominent figure in his field and desperate to keep my mother and me a secret… Many years ago, long before I was born, I guess he'd been at a vacation spot the same time Carlo was there. He saved Carlo’s life from a severe gunshot wound to near his heart and Carlo was forever grateful for that. He promised my father that if he ever needed something, he should contact him. I guess he never took up on Carlo’s offer, except for the one time, when Carlo accepted the favour. The thing is that Carlo was an extremely dangerous man, and when I was really young I could sense something wasn’t right about him. He ran a huge underground organisation, with a few operations spread in different countries. He had to be careful though in Switzerland, since it’s more of a ‘strict’ country compared to his other European operations in Holland and Turkey. Until this day, I’m not exactly sure what he dealt with, but I’m pretty sure it involved drug-trafficking and a bit of illegal arms-trading. Having grown up around him I was actually shielded from seeing any of his shady meetings and dealings. But the man was ruthless, I know it… If he ever had somebody bumped off, of course it wouldn’t be anywhere near the huge mansion we lived in. But on several occasions, I’ve seen some of his men bring in shady dudes for ‘business deals.’ Naturally, I got sent to my room in another wing of the house, or taken somewhere else far away from the meeting room. My mom, who got caught up in the lavish lifestyle, was usually off doing her own thing most of the time. Anyhow, if I was sent to my room, sometimes I would be sneaky and go to another part of the mansion that was close enough to the meeting room, but where I wouldn’t be seen by any of his henchmen. I could never hear what was being said but the cries of shear pain were loud enough for me that I could never forget them. One time I actually saw Carlo’s men come out with a man covered in blood; he’d obviously had the shit kicked out of him, and I never knew if Carlo’s guards let the guy live once he was out of the house.”

The Boy looked at Odessa, who remained silent but deeply intrigued. He got up and walked over to stand by his window. “Life with him was dangerous, but, surprisingly, it never bothered me. We changed residences whenever the seasons changed. There was the mansion in Switzerland, the villa he had on one of the Turkish Islands, and his penthouse in Holland... I personally liked living in Switzerland, since I prefer cold weather… But no matter which country we were living in he took really good care of my mother and me. His house employees must’ve liked me to because they let me get away with so much shit, not that I was a complete brat, but I definitely had my moments as a mischievous little charmer…” The Boy paused for a moment. “He and I were really close, though. He’d always tell me stories about his childhood with his twin brother, Mortimer… And I loved watching how he carried himself around people. So cool and calm, unless you pissed him off, of course. And it seemed like he was always one step ahead… I idolised him. I don’t condone all the dangerous things he ever did, but he always treated me like I was his very own son. Even when I was a baby, he convinced my mom to have my middle name be ‘Hesser’,” The Boy said quietly. He exhaled, as he appeared distant, staring out into the night. “Because he was in the mob, his enemies were bound to find out that I was very special to Uncle Carlo. And because I was associated with him, I didn’t go to regular school or even boarding schools since I later on became classified as ‘heavy target,’ after someone from one of his enemies’ side attempted to kidnap me in Turkey when I was five.”

Odessa pondered. “Is that why you’re not big on being in large crowds, even up to now?”

“Partly, I guess…” He frowned before continuing. “Anyway, he made sure I got the very best tutors available, but if the tutors ever saw something illegal they shouldn’t have seen in the first place, they’d end up getting ‘cancelled’…”

Odessa gasped. “Did that ever happen?”

The Boy looked at her straight in the eyes. “Thrice it happened… I was never told of the hits, but when, out of the blue, you get a brand new tutor with no explanation of what happened to the old one, except for the weak excuse ‘she had to go’, one would have to figure something was up.” Odessa eyes widened, and The Boy gave her a little lop-sided smile he looked back out the window. “It was partially because of that I tried not to get to close to people, since they could just disappear the next day.” Odessa squirmed at his comment. “Anyway, even though I was practically sheltered from kids my age, I was never bored. In fact, I was always busy. If I wasn’t having my lessons, or if we weren’t travelling to some exotic place, I was either doing some other activity like taking some martial arts lessons, fencing, doing motocross racing, at the practicing with guns at the shooting range, dagger throwing…” Odessa gasped again, but The Boy continued. “Uncle Carlo had a huge collection of vintage cars and motorcycles, and by the time I was four I was completely fascinated by them, particularly the motorcycles. He immediately got me involved in motocross and when I was 7 he had a racing field built just for me. The only thing that sucked about it was the number of events I could ever compete in was small because I of my open target status, but occasionally he would arrange for motorcycle rides through the countryside, with his security following us in there cars. My mother would go apeshit over my racing, which is funny because we weren’t really close, in the first place. She said she could see my father in my face, and it was depressing for her to look at me for the most part.”

“Good grief!” said a stunned Odessa.

The Boy continued. “Regardless, Uncle Carlo overruled her. He used to say: ‘Motocross is an excellent form of education for Junior to build concentration, confidence, discipline, and tolerance. If he should get injured, then he would have to learn to overcome the pain and try again… Pain is good.’ Uncle Carlo was both a hard-ass and a bit extreme,” he lightly chuckled. “He knew I was quick in learning things, and he’d give me lectures about cars in general and how to care for them. One of his guards had a brother who was good with cars, and because Uncle Carlo wasn’t a real mechanic, he arranged for the guard’s brother to come in so that I can work with him on ‘project cars.’ That was always awesome.” He stopped and ran his fingers through his hair again. “When I was 12, Uncle Carlo, my mother and I were on a skiing vacation in the Swiss Alps. One day, I’d forgotten my gloves in my private suite, so when I went to get them, I recognised his voice in a conversation he was having with some guy in one of the closed private rooms in the ski lodge I was near. He was saying something about how ‘Junior is an exceptional boy’ and he didn’t want to waste anymore time in ‘showing me the ropes.’”

“What does that mean?” Odessa curiously asked.

He looked at her, “I wasn’t sure at the time... but when I got older I realised all the dangerous things he had me doing from the get-go, was just a part of the training he had for me... so that when I was old enough, I'd eventually join him in his business operations.” Odessa widened again. “Anyway, in that same conversation he also said that he wanted to officially adopt me after we moved, and change my name to ‘Carlo Hesser, II.’ Apart from that, I didn’t get to hear anymore of his discussion since one of his men, from out of no where, came up from behind me and said that your Uncle Carlo is in a private meeting I shouldn’t be near there. The next day he told my mother and me he wanted to return to his other base in Argentina. He also said something about wanting to make sure that the two of us were safe with him around, which was pretty ironic to me. But I guess, no matter what, I was always going to be a mark for his enemies, even my mother to an extent. A couple months later Uncle Carlo and I moved to just outside of Buenos Aires. My mom didn’t come along, but it didn’t matter because things didn’t last very long, anyway…” He stopped again; the look in his eyes went wild.

His change in expression terrified Odessa. “Why? What happened?”

This time a look of deep pain made way onto The Boy’s face. He walked over to his dresser and stared at the picture he drawn of Odessa, by the Angel Square statue. After a moment of silence, he finally responded. “About a year later, Uncle Carlo was taking a business trip to Ecuador on his private jet. He went with two of his bodyguards and obviously, the pilot… Unfortunately, he didn’t make it since the plane he was on had a faulty engine, and crashed into the Andes Mountains. Search officials didn’t find any survivors.” His fist was trembling. “He once told me that so many times, people have tried to kill him, but I guess his luck ran out that day. I know that plane was tampered with... I was even supposed to go with him on the trip, but I ended up getting sick around that time. Go figure…”

Odessa went to him and took his shaking hand and comforted him. “Oh my gosh, Tim, that’s so awful! I know that must’ve been horrible for you. I’m so sorry…” She asked slowly, “But your mother, what happened to her?”

The Boy’s face now went from pain to blank. “By that time she was already acting really bizarre, but I don’t know what happened to her, I can’t seem to remember. I never saw her again…” his voice was barely audible. He cleared his throat. “Anyway, the biggest thing I started learning from all of this was if you live a dangerous lifestyle you have to not only be educated in different ways, but you have to be able to hold your own. Survival of the fittest, you know? Uncle Carlo helped raise me for only thirteen years, but I learned so much from him or because of him.”

Odessa hugged him from behind. “Oh, baby I’m so sorry.” Suddenly, she picked out the picture of the woman with no eyes he drawn and showed it to him. “Was this her, by any chance?”

The Boy was eyeing the drawing, as if he was looking right through it, yet he seemed remote. “I miss her,” he said softly, still in a conscious state of mind. His eyes were starting to go red. Odessa wanted to know more, like how he ended up in San Francisco and his life there, but she couldn’t stand to see The Boy in his current state any longer. She put the picture down, and put one of her hands to his face. “I need my glasses, my head is starting to hurt,” he said. He went to his nightstand and opened the drawer to retrieve his glasses. Instead of putting them on, tossed them on the nightstand, and sat on the bed with his head in his hands.

Odessa went to go sit next to him. With her hand she started brushing the hair away from his face. As if he’d forgotten she was there, her touch startled The Boy, and although it was brief he looked at Odessa as if he didn’t recognise her. She was stroking his hair. “Tim, you gone through so much danger for someone so young. All that’s happened to you in the past just remember that you overcame all of it because you’re here now. You are a survivor!” With that Odessa leaned forward so that her mouth met his.

The Boy then drew her in closer as his body shifted to face her, wrapping his arms around her. Their embrace grew intensely as Odessa fell on her back on the bed, The Boy falling on top of her. His hands started roaming over her upper body. With her leg, she could feel his groin area getting harder and his breathing getting harder. Her breathing was getting harder as she felt The Boy’s hand starting to creep underneath her shirt and felt his fingers circle around her navel, while keeping his lips and tongue were exploring hers. His hand then started moving his hand upwards and she felt his hand cup her right breast. At that moment The Boy went away from Odessa’s lips to delicately grazing her neck. By now both of his hands had found their way to her bra clasp. Odessa could hear the faint sounds of unbuckling, and within seconds her bra had been loosened. Her shirt was still on, with on of The Boy’s hands on her back, the other slowly crawling up towards her chest. There was no cloth between his hand and her breasts this time, and at the touch of his hand on her skin she felt a sensation completely foreign as he brushed over her right nipple. Odessa, feeling nervous, immediately clipped her breath whilst making a peculiar, but small sound. The Boy, still at her neck, stopped him movements and opened his eyes to peer into hers; he was reading her. Holding her breath, Odessa was at a loss for words for the moment. But her eyes, consciously, said all that he needed to see.

“You've never done this before have you?" She didn't respond. "This isn’t right,” he said, sitting up.

“What? Don’t you want to do it with me?”

“Of course I want to be with you, but not this way.”

Now Odessa sat up. “But… I don’t understand, how do you explain we were doing just now?”

“Babes, I can see it in your eyes... You’re not ready for this. It's too soon anyway... Can you honestly tell me otherwise?”

Odessa shook her head in response. She felt embarrassed and looked away from him. “I’m… I’m sorry,” she said in a small voice.

“Hey… you have nothing to be sorry about. I’ll admit that I’m not a virgin, but if you aren’t ready, then I’m not ready.”

“It’s just that you were looking so sad, and I just wanted to make you feel better. I thought it would be right to do.”

The Boy gently took her face in his hands. “Hey, I know that you know you have more sense than to feel that way! Just because I have some issues, I don’t ever want you thinking sex is the answer to things, especially on my account. Not only are you underestimating me, but you are lowering yourself, and you are much better than that, Bella. We have plenty of time to be with each other, and there’s no need to rush things. It’s okay, really… I’d hate for your first time to be cheapened.” He kissed her forehead and hugged her, making her feel better.

If Mom or Dad ever knew how I acted… she thought.

A few moments later Odessa looked at his alarm clock. “Yikes, it’s getting close to my curfew! You’d better drop me off at Derek’s so that I can get my car. I’m maybe late for lot of things, but missing curfew and dealing with Dad are not something I’m trying to mess with! I can’t stress how lucky you are! No curfew and all that…”

“At least you have someone who cares, though.” He put on another layer of clothing and grabbed his riding gear. As they were getting ready to leave he suddenly remembered something. He went to his Frigidaire, pulled out a chocolate bar and before handing it to her, he asked “And what do you say?”

Odessa thought for a moment and then broke into a cheeky grin. “Trick or Treat!”

“Hmm… I was expecting something more like ‘Thank you Halloween Santa, you are the greatest ever,’ but I guess your words will have to do,” he winked.

Odessa than grew serious. “Thank you,” she said. “And I’m not just about the chocolate, but for everything about tonight, especially sharing some of your past with me. I can’t imagine how difficult that was for you. What you told me tonight won’t leave this room, I promise…”

The Boy gave her a weak smile, looked down at floor and blinked several times before looking back at her. “Let’s get going now so you can beat your curfew. 'Time is of the essence' ya know?”